Equinox Project | Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I spent a bit of time planning some of the future projects on the boat, and also got in touch with a local canvas shop to discuss interior and cockpit cushions and a dodger for the boat.  We made arrangements to meet within the next day or two to discuss the canvas projects.

With the administration out of the way, I decided to attack the bilge and old holding tank space beneath the cabin sole.  Beneath a shallow bilge directly under the cabin sole lay a molded, integral space that had reportedly been intended for use as a holding tank; it was unclear how much it had ever been used for this purpose, but fortunately it was dry and relatively clean inside.  Access, at the moment, was through an 8" plastic screw-in place in the top, and this opening revealed that there was a significant amount of concrete within the tank, and on and around the lead ballast in the keel cavity.  The owner wanted to remove this concrete, otherwise fill and glass over the ballast cavity as needed, and allow the use of this space for other installations.



In order to work, I needed to open up the space.  Fortunately, the molded cabin sole, which was part of the interior liner, featured a teak plywood veneer over the top (which I'd removed a day or two ago), so it would be possible to cut away the sole for access while not having to worry unduly about invisibly repairing the cutouts.

Before beginning, I checked beneath the areas where I wanted to cut to ensure that there was sufficient space to allow the cuts without accidentally running into the curvature of the hull; since I couldn't see into these spaces, I used the camera to take photos.  Then, I marked off the cut with masking tape, and cut out the sole using a grinder equipped with a cutoff wheel, and a saw to finish up the corners.  The sole turned out to be a sandwich construction with partial foam and plywood cores.  I set the piece aside for later reinstallation.


Next, I cut off the top of the old tank, located a few inches beneath where the sole had been.  To cut out the bulk, I used a jigsaw, which I ran against the edge of the hull, leaving about 1" of material behind; I then cut off the remaining flange with the grinder and cutoff wheel, before grinding the area smooth.

With the old tank fully exposed, I removed the loose concrete, and ground out the space to remove loose gelcoat (the interior had been coated with gelcoat at the factory, apparently) and other debris, to the extent possible.  Then, I cleaned up the mess.

Finally, I chipped away at some of the concrete outside of the lead ballast pig, within the keel cavity, to remove loose material and lower the concrete beneath the top of the lead, which would eventually allow me to create a smooth, new interior surface.  I pulled loose material out of the still-partially-hidden aftermost reaches of the tank (located beneath the after part of the bilge where the batteries had been), and removed the final detritus.  My next step would be to fill the voids around the lead, and then glass securely over the top.



Total Time on This Job Today:  7 hours

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